A Conversation with Meg Stout

Ms. Stout has responded in a long comment to one of my previous posts, so in an attempt to be thorough, I will respond here. Her statements are in block quotes.

You haven’t established that Louisa was actually sexually involved with Joseph. Her brother-in-law’s testimony (I believe delivered e=during the Temple Lot case in the 1890s) could not definitely confirm that sex had occurred. On the other hand, it did confirm that Joseph had engaged in a ceremony that joined him in covenant with Louisa and that Louisa and Joseph spent time together.

I don’t have to establish that Louisa was sexually involved with Joseph. What I am saying is that the only evidence we have supports a sexual relationship. You, on the other hand, are asserting a nonsexual relationship based on, well, nothing. As I noted, you accept at face value the accusations that Sarah Pratt had a sexual relationship with John Bennett, even though those accusations are based on a couple of vague statements and two demonstrably false affidavits. On the other hand, when a woman says she had “carnal intercourse” with Joseph Smith and spent the night in his bed, you dismiss that. Why? I have no idea.

Louisa was Joseph’s only plural wife for many months, and there was no reason to think Joseph wouldn’t have been sexual with her, or continued to be sexual with her for the remainder of his life. Except she never gets pregnant during Joseph’s life. But once Brigham starts openly promoting the idea that plural wives should be full wives, Louisa gives birth to five children in the five years before her death of cancer.

First of all, we don’t know that she never got pregnant during Joseph’s life. There’s no evidence one way or the other. We can say that there’s no evidence she bore a child in his lifetime. That’s different. As for Brigham Young, I would like to see some documentation that the idea that they were “full wives” originated with him.

Back to Joseph Ellis Johnson and his testimony. There are numerous words left of of that record, as transcribed. I presume the words were not present in the original record. But I honestly don’t think it makes sense to assert that Brother Johnson would have accused Joseph of frigging his mother-in-law in that context. The written testimony is ambiguous, but context refutes the interpretation others have put forward. I give props to Todd Compton for not including Mary Heron [Snider] as one of Joseph’s wives, though he knew it was possible, based on the fact that he lists her among alleged wives that he finds not plausible.

I have no idea what Mary Heron’s relationship was with Joseph Smith, but the explanation you give (the bastards frigged my mother-in-law) makes no sense in context and is supported by, again, nothing.

John, you have shared the fact that you are a technical writer. But you have not supported your repeated accusations that many women described the “fact” that they were involved in sexual relationships with Joseph, or the “fact” that many women claimed they thought their child was engendered by Joseph.

We can only go by what the women said, and many of them did say they had sex with Joseph. And some have corroborating testimony from people who saw them go into a bedroom and spend the night with Joseph Smith. I provided the testimony, which is apparently ambiguous only to you and maybe the Prices. Also, Sylvia Lyon’s statement to her daughter is important because she said it only to Josephine, not to any of her other children. If it had been a question of sealing, there’s no reason Sylvia would have said it only to one of her children. And Presendia Buell said she wasn’t sure if her child was Joseph’s or her husband’s. Her confusion makes sense only if she were having sex with both men.

This is not difficult stuff.

You take issue with the narrative I thread through my framework. Yet no one here has simply assembled facts. We all have constructed a narrative that helps us make sense of the facts we believe are on the table. In the case of the current narrative, originated by Fawn Brodie and repeated with variations for many decades now, one can have the mental comfort of feeling like there is no other reasonable interpretation of the facts.

Unfortunately, that’s not what you’re doing. A good historian or researcher can attempt to fill in gaps in the historical record, but their main thesis cannot depend on assertions not based in documentary evidence. That’s the problem with your series: you have an investigation, a set of victims, and nonsexual marriages based on nothing more than your own desire. Say what you will about Brodie, she at least had documentary evidence for her thesis.

But just as Fawn wove a web of inference to connect the facts, I too have woven a web of inference. Fawn did not have access to as much data as I have, and those who rebutted Fawn did not have access to as much data as I have. Unfortunately, this means their rebuttals, in light of what we know now, appear to be naive and under-informed.

Fawn Brodie’s biggest problem was her attempt to get inside Joseph’s head in a sort of psychological biography, which was fashionable at the time. That said, no one disputes the documentary evidence she provided, only her conclusions based on that evidence. Your problem is that your conclusions are not based on documentary evidence. You have woven a web of inference out of whole cloth, not from evidence.

However that does not mean that Fawn Brodie and those who have followed closely in her shadow are right, just because the faithful of a former era hadn’t studied the details and therefore didn’t know what they were talking about.

What’s interesting is that faithful historians, such as Richard Bushman, frequently use Brodie as a source.

I will give you props for not spewing grossly false information, which is what I have encountered in other settings. You are merely unable to consider that there is another reasonable explanation for the facts on the table, because you are unable to separate the facts from the inferences and therefore are unable to call those inferences into question.

I have not said anything false, grossly or not. Please do not assert that I can’t consider another reasonable explanation. That is not the case. If there were any evidence to support the alternate explanation, I would be happy to consider it. In fact, when I was asked to take a look at your work, my first thought was that this was an interesting approach, and I was looking forward to see how you arrived at your conclusions. I was, however, disappointed, because your explanation depends on inferences without facts. One can separate facts and inferences, but the inferences need to have a basis in fact, or at least documentary evidence. Yours do not.

You and Andrew are challenged by my authoritative manner. Which is something I have experienced my whole life, being a woman in a man’s profession (engineering/science). But if I didn’t cowtow to world-renowned experts in my past when I believed myself to be right, I have no idea why I would cowtow to the two of you and your audience.

Oh, for pity’s sake. Now you’re calling me a sexist? Really? I have no problem with an authoritative manner from anyone, least of all from you. What I have a problem with is dishonest attempts to rewrite history, which is what we have here.

Advertisements

14 Responses to A Conversation with Meg Stout

  1. Bob says:

    With significant interest I’ve been watching this discussion unfold in near realtime over the last couple days and at no time did I ever get a whiff of sexism coming from Andrew or Runtu. I find it very odd that meg finished her post with an ad hominem by inferring sexism. I can appreciate the sexism shadow in Meg’s past, cast by the field of work she is in (not an excuse but in recognition) as well as the often-denied-but-still-there shadow cast by the church. But she seems to be projecting those experiences onto the ExMo community. It may surprise most that haven’t watched the ExMos, but for most, the process of reconciling faith and leaving the church has awakened them to the realities of sexism. Most leave the sexist mindset with their former religion. Both Andrew and Runtu’s track records here and in other blogs have shown they too left it behind.

    • runtu says:

      Thank you for that. My disagreement with Meg is over the substance of her posts, not her gender or character. I was surprised and dismayed that she brought up alleged sexism on my part. I have tried very hard to treat her with the same respect I try to treat everyone.

    • Andrew says:

      For the record, I would like to make it known that I am not an exmo. This isn’t an apostate exmo vs. faithful elect debate. I’m a card-holding member and consider myself to be a faithful disciple of Christ’s gospel. BIC, RM, MIT. It would be fair to say that I’m not an orthodox member, but not an exmo or any way hostile to the church. I am quite hostile towards dishonesty though.

      • Bob says:

        Mea culpa. I cast(ed?) a pretty wide net along with some projection of my own.

        And for what it is worth, exmo does not necessarily equate to hostile to the church. I wish I could change the term to “ContraMo” but it doesn’t have quite the same implicit meaning nor the baggage.

      • runtu says:

        I prefer “filthy apostate.” 🙂

  2. Jenny says:

    MS Stoud I am a woman. I am coming at this from a woman’s point of view. What you have written about Joseph Smith reminds me very much of “The Work And The Glory” series of books that came out years back. The writer took bits and pieces of actual information and weaved those bits in with made up and real people from LDS history. Historical fiction is what he did. He filled his books with his own imagination of what people said, thought, and did. The author was not a bad writer as I recall. But he wrote historical fiction, not actual history. You also Ms Stoud are in my opinion writing historical wishful fiction, which is fine, but it isn’t actual history. It is fiction with bits and pieces of facts tucked in. I will leave you with a quote from John Adams: “Facts are stubborn things: And whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they can not alter the state of facts and evidence.”

  3. yaanufs says:

    When someone brings out the sexism, or racism, or any other -ism charge against the person they are discussing a subject with, it is a sure sign that they know they have lost the discussion. They know they have nothing to counter the points raised and have to resort to accusing the other with an -ism.
    Congratulations Runtu, you thoughtfully, and with real knowledge, dissected an attempt to write a version of JS history based upon nothing more than wishful thinking and a few facts thrown in to try and legitimize the overwhelming wishful thinking part.

    • Bob says:

      I second the congratulations. Runtu, that you seem to have most of this information floating around in your head or at least can find it at such short notice makes me jealous and is a testament to the amount of time and effort you’ve expended on mormon history in the past.

  4. CAB says:

    “You and Andrew are challenged by my authoritative manner.”
    That last was a cheap shot. And also very telling. The statement itself is not “authoritative,” but supercilious. Frankly, I think she is grasping at figments of her imagination. But if it makes her feel better, why not. Her entire argument about JS is the same sort of reasoning–‘I say it is so, therefore it is so.’
    As a proud Feminist I can say that no where in this entire series did I detect the least bit of sexism or desire for Meg Stout to kowtow to Runtu and Andrew.
    I sincerely hope that this is the end of it. But I still wonder why she is so desperate to believe that JS did not have sex with his multiple wives. When I was a kid in the 1950’s and 60’s it was a common assumption that he had sex with his wives. it was not a ‘secret’ and nobody felt a need to argue about it. In those days Emma was considered the bad wife because she reportedly pushed Eliza R. Snow down the stairs after learning that she was pregnant by JS, causing Eliza to miscarry. Mormons were not ashamed of their polygamous heritage. But times and the church have changed, apparently, and people like Meg Stout feel a need to deny that JS would not do what a reasonable person would expect him to do alone all night in bed with a young bride.
    I am amused by the whole kerfuffle.

  5. Andrew says:

    Meg, a few things to add.

    I’m going to be quite blunt because I feel you’re being very dishonest.

    First, I just want to draw attention to something you say on your digest that was in reference to me. You say, “I was recently discussing Nauvoo with an individual who appears inclined to believe that Joseph Smith was just a pervert.”

    This is a blatant misrepresentation. To start with, I never brought up the subject of Joseph or polygamy, you did. I was simply discussing the word “hypocrisy” and your incorrect response to my comment on your blog post about doubt.

    In response to that email, you said, “By the way, I do invite you to read my Faithful Joseph series. http://www.millennialstar.org/a-faithful-joseph/ All kinds of sex and betrayal and stuff, but likely distinctly different from anything else you’ve “learned” in that I don’t eliminate inconvenient facts, as the “doubters” have done. When you actually hold yourself to the standard of objective historian, the history is transformed from hagiography and polemics to just plain old fascinating human story (a human story in which I think Joseph and Emma come out looking like amazing people).”

    This was out of the blue as I had said nothing whatsoever about Joseph or polygamy.

    In response to this I said, “I’ll take a poke at your faithful Joseph series. At a glance it seems similar to arguments made by the RLDS and Brian Hales, which are not considered very reputable or taken seriously. How are your arguments different from his? Also, what do you mean by not eliminating inconvenient facts, as the “doubters” have done? I realize that people like Hales try to defend Joseph’s impeccable character, but it’s completely reasonable to not find those arguments persuasive. Plenty of the “faithful” are quite plain spoken, openly acknowledging the bad things Joseph did.”

    A conversation between us then ensued, and nowhere in that conversation did I ever use the word “pervert” or suggest such a thing. Can you point to where I did? I simply asked questions, none of which you addressed, but kept telling me to just read all the stuff on your blog. Because of how insanely long all this material is, I asked questions to try and get to the heart of where your arguments differ from people like Price/Hales. You wouldn’t answer, so finally I asked you to provide a quick list of your best evidence.

    I said, “…It’s quite long though. Asking for a reader’s digest version seems quite reasonable. Especially from someone who wants to nitpick over word definitions 🙂 Respectfully, you aren’t a historian. You’re an extreme outlier. I don’t know of anyone period, much less anyone reputable, who takes your arguments with respect to Joseph seriously. I know of no reputable historian, LDS or otherwise, that agrees with the belief that the marriages were not sexual. Heck, even our own church acknowledges that the relationships were sexual! My basic questions are quite fair. To me, someone who has solid information and confidence in it will not hesitate to answer questions. What is your best evidence that these relationships weren’t sexual (even the top 5 would do)? If you can’t do that succinctly and with documentary support, to me this would indicate you don’t have a strong case at all. If you can provide me with a best evidence breakdown I’m happy to go through it. Moreover I would recommend you present such a thing for peer review.”

    Your response was to create the digest. I appreciate this and can tell you put a lot of work into it. Thank you. But I will quickly point out that this isn’t what I requested. I asked for a short list of specific evidences, the bases from which your conclusions are drawn.

    Next, in the course of our conversation you said some other things worth mention. On your digest you say, “[Brian Hales] most vehemently doesn’t like what I say about certain matters, and I don’t agree with him on numerous points.”

    That may be true, but by email you said to me, “Hales is actually really chuffed with me, since I insist on speculating on the intriguing possibility that Eliza Snow was seduced by John C. Bennett….Yeah, Hales and the Prices aren’t known as the most objective historians. As for me, I went into my journey presuming that Joseph had been a full-blooded sexual partner to many of his wives. But it was the scientific data that persuaded me that he likely wasn’t.”

    There’s a bit of a disparity here re the cozy relationship between yours and Hales’ arguments. And I’m still waiting for that scientific evidence.

    Third, I just want to point out the polar opposites being displayed here between you and John. Note to the world that this conversation is taking place on John’s blog and not Meg’s, and the reason is that Meg moderates her comments and will not allow any comments to be published which disagrees with her in a substantive way.

    This is another example of how you’re a hypocrite.

    On your digest you say, “Vague comments… will not be approved. Specific comments that indicate scholarly consideration and study of the posts… are appreciated.”

    I call b.s.

    For the world to see, here’s a comment I posted to your blog.

    http://imgur.com/PNL8dYc

    And I see that this comment has already been deleted. Would you care to take a moment and explain why this is?

    Yet I see you approved the following comment, “Great work! I think you are bringing out the true Joseph Smith that we all want to believe in.”

    http://imgur.com/eRw2Hrh

    LOL, seriously?

    So substantive comments that draw attention to your poor research are banned, but vague fanboy comments are approved? This says so much about you.

    Hypocrisy, dishonesty, narcissism.

    Do as I say (no vague comments), but not as I do (approve vague comments).

    John is letting you say whatever you want over here. No burning of books by him or his “audience.”

    John has gone through your work quite thoroughly, provided a lot of specifics, and demonstrated how it’s a tissue of dishonesty and logical fallacies from beginning to end. And despite how truly bad it is, he’s managed to remain composed and be very polite in his review of your work. And what’s your response?

    To accuse people of sexism!

    (insert huge eye roll)

    This isn’t a talk show on the radio, such antics do not become us. You are not being persecuted at all, much less because you’re a woman. You’re acting like a know-it-all kid with the stuff you say. We disagree with you because we think you are wrong, that’s it. Not a conspiracy. You have been thoroughly rebutted with specifics. Time to put your money where your mouth is.

    You are not a historian and you don’t seem to at all understand what constitutes historical scholarship.

    Challenge: Try getting an MA in history and use your work on Joseph Smith as the basis for your thesis. Let’s see that get approved. Admittedly that’s a lot of work though, taking classes and whatnot, and probably an unnecessary waste of time if you’re already at the level of a trained historian.

    Reasonable counter-challenge: Perhaps instead just try putting things into an article and get and it published by one of the many countless hundreds of history journals out there. Submit your work to peer review and let us see it get approved as credible scholarship….

    Note, what do you think John has been doing? He is responding very similarly to how a review committee for a journal would, except he’s giving you far more detail. A respectable journal would probably trash bin your work without anything more than an automated “submission declined” type response.

    This all goes back to the original discussion about doubt. On your blog you argue that it’s a sin to doubt. By email you then say to me, “I don’t eliminate inconvenient facts, as the “doubters” have done. I then responded, “…what do you mean by not eliminating inconvenient facts, as the “doubters” have done? I realize that people like Hales try to defend Joseph’s impeccable character, but it’s completely reasonable to not find those arguments persuasive.”

    My original point on that thread is that your treatment of others is not reasonable. The only bias here is with you. In my opinion you are an unreasonable person making unreasonable arguments. You are the one that’s engaging in confirmation bias and eliminating inconvenient facts. That is you, not us. All we have done is point out that you have no evidentiary basis for saying the things that you do. And not just that, but the evidence strongly disagrees with you.

    Any why is John going to such great lengths to respond to you?

    Because you are no different than medicine men running around peddling elixirs. You misrepresent the evidence. You and your dishonesty are dangerous. To me you are dangerous for the same reason that someone who denies the holocaust is dangerous, or someone who promotes 911 truth. A less extreme example, lots of well-meaning people also promoted the idea that blacks are inferior, that they were fence sitters in the pre-mortal and whatnot. Good people can promote very bad messages. You’re setting people up for failure. Mindsets like yours are what’s causing the church to shed members at an increasingly high rate. That itself is bad enough but then you take it a step further by promoting the idea of branding reasonable people who calmly and politely reject your insanity with the scarlet letter of “doubt.” I realize that you mean well, and you seem like a very nice person, but your arguments are unhealthy and the contents frankly quite insidious. You are promoting the very opposite of the gospel of Christ.

    This reminds me of some sage advice given to Shiblon by Alma. In Alma 38 it reads, “See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength… do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom. Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren…”

  6. Meg Stout says:

    Hi folks,

    For what it’s worth, Millennial Star is not “my blog.” There are others who own that blog. They have their own standards for discourse, and they are the ones who make most the decisions about whether or not comments comply with the comment policy (which I didn’t create.) I have approved

    To Jenny, I am Ms. Stout (Meg Stout is much more useful when using google, FWIW). I take exception to what you wrote. I found The Work and the Glory to represent execrable writing, from a craft standpoint (at least in the few pages I could actually stand reading). The author took extreme license with his facts, including complete elimination of any discussion of plural marriage.

    Hi Andrew, the tenor of your comments led me to think you had studied Joseph’s polygamy extensively this past year and found him to be dishonest, deceptive, and coercive. I suppose that isn’t exactly the definition of “pervert,” but it’s in the same general direction. At the least, your comments did not indicate that you thought his behavior was in any way honorable.

    Now to John’s comments:

    Re: Louisa Beaman. “What I am saying is that the only evidence we have supports a sexual relationship. You, on the other hand, are asserting a nonsexual relationship based on, well, nothing.”

    Exactly – there were no children during Joseph’s lifetime, and then she becomes as productive as a bunny afterwards. Absence is at least consistent with the possibility that there was no sex.

    As I noted, you accept at face value the accusations that Sarah Pratt had a sexual relationship with John Bennett, even though those accusations are based on a couple of vague statements and two demonstrably false affidavits.

    I am basing this on Jacob Backenstos’ affidavit. Why do you claim the non-Mormon sheriff of Hancock County, who had actually become entangled in Bennett’s spiritual wifery based on the affidavit of Catherine Fuller, is demonstrably false?

    Re: Emily Partrige’s 1890s testimony in the Temple Lot trial. “On the other hand, when a woman says she had “carnal intercourse” with Joseph Smith and spent the night in his bed, you dismiss that. Why? I have no idea.”

    I call this into doubt because in the 1890s, the sole surviving plural wife of Joseph Smith known to have been his wife during his lifetime would have entirely discredited the entire embattled legal and military contest between the Utah Mormons and both the RLDS Church and US Government. Not only was she a good Mormon, intent on saving the Temple Lot from the RLDS church, she was a high-profile widow of Brigham Young, a man she had adored.

    Back to Louisa: “we don’t know that she never got pregnant during Joseph’s life. There’s no evidence one way or the other. We can say that there’s no evidence she bore a child in his lifetime. That’s different. As for Brigham Young, I would like to see some documentation that the idea that they were “full wives” originated with him.”

    In order to consider that Louisa either had secret children that were farmed out to others or consider that she had many miscarriages, one must consider the excitement with which even Sarah Peak Noon and Mary Clift celebrated the lives of their children, born in 1842. If Louisa had a child who survived and had been hidden in the 1840s, there is no reason to reasonably suppose that child would have remained hidden and unacknowledged. As for the miscarriages, we then have the wonder of Louisa’s reproductive history once she becomes Brigham’s wife, which does not support the idea that she commonly miscarried (though all but one of her children engendered by Brigham Young did die in infancy).

    Thus you are taking a lack of data and postulating children or at least pregnancies.

    I never said the idea of full wives originated with him. Joseph definitely established that plural marriage was possible, and in the journal record of Aroet Hale, made it clear that plural wives were to produce children (necessitating sex). I’m just saying that I’m not persuaded that Joseph, himself, actually had sex with his plural wives.

    Re: Mary Heron: “I have no idea what Mary Heron’s relationship was with Joseph Smith, but the explanation you give (the bastards frigged my mother-in-law) makes no sense in context and is supported by, again, nothing.”

    The assertion Michael Quinn and Brian Hales give, that the terminal “by Joseph” was either necessarily referring to Joseph Smith or that the un-written question was actually “by whom was Mary frigged?” rather than “By whom were you informed Mary was frigged?” is similarly supported by the same level of “nothing.”

    Re the women who said they had sex with Joseph and Sylvia’s deathbed testimony to Josephine Lyon [Ficher]: “We can only go by what the women said, and many of them did say they had sex with Joseph. And some have corroborating testimony from people who saw them go into a bedroom and spend the night with Joseph Smith. I provided the testimony, which is apparently ambiguous only to you and maybe the Prices. Also, Sylvia Lyon’s statement to her daughter is important because she said it only to Josephine, not to any of her other children. If it had been a question of sealing, there’s no reason Sylvia would have said it only to one of her children. And Presendia Buell said she wasn’t sure if her child was Joseph’s or her husband’s. Her confusion makes sense only if she were having sex with both men.”

    Regarding the women, this is what I have asked you to unpack. Which women said this? When? In what context? In all that I have read, there were many inferences.

    Regarding Josephine, I have laid out the reason why we don’t hear of this information being provided to other siblings. The other children Sylvia Sessions had with Lyons all died before reaching adulthood. The other daughters Sylvia had later in life married initially in the temple, which is where they would have learned about their mother’s covenant relationship to Joseph. Only Josephine was married outside of the temple. Of course, no one would care if the other siblings claimed they were Joseph’s children, since they were conceived long after Joseph died. Sylvia, for her part, never signed the affidavits Joseph Smith prepared for her signature, so it is conjectural that she was even sealed to Joseph during his lifetime, despite her presence at the sealing of her mother to Joseph, as Patty Sessions described in a journal entry in the 1860s.

    Regarding Presendia, the comment was not written by Presendia, but reputed to have been said by V. Ettie Coray, a writer whose version of history is widely regarded as problematic, even by contemporary non-Mormons. Hales points out the problems with Ms. Coray’s tale [http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/history-2/plural-wives-overview/presendia-lathrop-huntington/]. Further, the doctrine of how ordinances worked was not well-understood. This Presendia might have been speculating about which father (biological or covenant) would be the father of her child in eternity, assuming Ms. Coray ever heard anything related to what she alleged.

    Re the investigation, victims, and non-sexual marriages: “Unfortunately, that’s not what you’re doing. A good historian or researcher can attempt to fill in gaps in the historical record, but their main thesis cannot depend on assertions not based in documentary evidence. That’s the problem with your series: you have an investigation, a set of victims, and nonsexual marriages based on nothing more than your own desire. Say what you will about Brodie, she at least had documentary evidence for her thesis.”

    Lots of people dispute Fawn’s version of events.

    The investigation I propose occurred is clearly evidenced in the actions of Relief Society, the confessions and testimony assembled by the Nauvoo High Council, the excommunication of Bennett, and the prodigious amount of material published in the paper regarding letters describing Bennett’s past.

    The hypothesis that marriages were largely nonsexual is based on looking at the reproductive history not only of Joseph’s wives, but the plural wives of the dozens of men who were considered to be early practitioners of polygamy under Joseph’s leadership.

    I can accept the possibility that one or two individual relationships were sexual but failed to produce children, but when one examines the entire multi-year history of dozens of men and dozens of women, particularly in contrast to the later reproductive history of these individuals, there is a clear difference in number of progeny produced.

    Re: Brodie’s reliability as a source: “What’s interesting is that faithful historians, such as Richard Bushman, frequently use Brodie as a source.”

    Brodie isn’t held up as the gold standard you suggest, however. I cite the Expositor, History of the Saints, and many other texts and sources. Records can include valuable hints about actual events, even when the quality of the overall work is not itself considered stellar.

    “I have not said anything false, grossly or not. Please do not assert that I can’t consider another reasonable explanation. That is not the case. If there were any evidence to support the alternate explanation, I would be happy to consider it. In fact, when I was asked to take a look at your work, my first thought was that this was an interesting approach, and I was looking forward to see how you arrived at your conclusions. I was, however, disappointed, because your explanation depends on inferences without facts. One can separate facts and inferences, but the inferences need to have a basis in fact, or at least documentary evidence. Yours do not.”

    If you assert that none of my inferences have a basis in documentary evidence, then you are saying something false. res ipsa loquitur

    I concluded: “You and Andrew are challenged by my authoritative manner. Which is something I have experienced my whole life, being a woman in a man’s profession (engineering/science). But if I didn’t cowtow to world-renowned experts in my past when I believed myself to be right, I have no idea why I would cowtow to the two of you and your audience.”

    “Oh, for pity’s sake. Now you’re calling me a sexist? Really? I have no problem with an authoritative manner from anyone, least of all from you. What I have a problem with is dishonest attempts to rewrite history, which is what we have here.”

    I am not calling you a sexist. I am saying that the arguments you and Andrew have had with me strongly resemble the attempts by other men in my professional and personal life to shut me down. This is not sexism, per se, but a tactic used to silence or intimidate an opponent in discussion. In my personal life these attempts to silence and intimidate me have been, at times, accompanied by physical violence.

    You have unpacked a small amount in this, for which I thank you. I still find you are being inappropriately dismissive, suggesting there is no documentary evidence for my framework, and the instances you cite (other than Emily Partridge and the matter of Josephine) are widely deprecated by even non-Mormon scholars.

    However I see you have put up additional posts, so I will go respond further to those.

    • runtu says:

      I see you still refuse to engage my list of unsupported assertions. I’m disappointed. Either way, you seem to think that all of this boils down to whether there was definitive evidence of sex. Very bizarre.

    • Andrew says:

      Meg, I’m calling b.s. again. Our email discussion started with you emailing me in response to a comment I posted on your blog about doubt. In that email you explicitly said you had full power and discretion to approve comments but in my case were not “inclined” to do so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: